“A book for these times as we confront the fault lines in our democracy…A deeply provocative work about the place of children in strengthening our sense of community.”
—Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here
“Earls and Carlson have discovered…an aspect of development previously unrecognized: how children and youth can find their voice, feel empowered to use that voice, and translate that voice into political action. This is a remarkable book.”
—Gordon Harper, Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
“An inspiring vision of a newly inclusive democracy.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Voice, Choice, and Action is the fruit of the extraordinary personal and professional partnership between a psychiatrist and neurobiologist whose research and social activism have informed each other for the last thirty years. Inspired by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Felton Earls and Mary Carlson embarked on a series of studies to help children find their voice in the adult world. In Romania, they saw the devastating consequences of infant institutionalization. In Brazil, they found street children who had banded together to advocate for themselves. In Chicago, Earls sought to understand the origins of antisocial behavior in teenagers, and in Tanzania, they piloted a program to guide children’s growth as deliberative citizens.
Here in vivid detail are the science, ethics, and everyday practices needed to foster young citizens eager to confront social challenges. At a moment when adults regularly decry the state of our democracy, Voice, Choice, and Action offers invaluable tools to build a new generation of active citizens.
Earls and Carlson have discovered, studied, and advocated for an aspect of development previously unrecognized: how children and youth can find their voice, feel empowered to use that voice, and translate that voice into political action. This is a remarkable book, personally, scientifically, and politically.
Aims to provide convincing proof that children are and can be political actors in their own communities, and attempts to show the tools required for child and youth citizenship to develop and flourish…It provides a comprehensive exploration of the potential for enabling children to develop into deliberative citizens…A valuable read for researchers on childhood in any discipline.
Reflecting their years of research and dedication to an action-based, participatory approach, the authors provide specific guidelines for parents, teachers, police, and other authority figures in setting up a Young Citizens program, aimed at children ages 10 to 14, in their own communities…An inspiring vision of a newly inclusive democracy.
A wide-ranging and inspiring study of citizen engagement among young people…Earls and Carlson provide an educational program for improving children’s communication skills and reasoning capacities in order to make them effective advocates for themselves and others…Readers interested in childhood development, progressive causes, and public health will want to take note.
This important book presents fascinating research about children’s experiences under difficult conditions in several parts of the world. The book shines with rich detail, heartfelt concern, and deep insight.
Here is a compelling argument for the democratic capacities of children and youth. Science, philosophy, and two lifetimes of hands-on experience support its bold vision.
In this insightful and revelatory book, Earls, a psychiatrist, and Carlson, a neurobiologist—lifelong partners in work and love—sing a duet that blends empiricism and social activism, theory and practice, intellectual biography and interdisciplinarity. Their international journeys and projects, distinguished by scientific rigor, innovation, and discovery, offer strong evidence of the power and wisdom of children’s voices, raised in disciplined and deliberative discourse, to the building of a more inclusive and just democracy. Voice, Choice, and Action is at once a richly detailed narrative, a discerning analysis, a moral declaration, a rigorous roadmap, and an urgent call to action.
A landmark work. Integrating neurobehavioral and social sciences, Earls and Carlson link theory and social action to offer a transformative vision of children as active agents in democratic societies around the world.
Voice, Choice, and Action is a book for these times as we confront the fault lines in our democracy. Tony Earls and Maya Carlson have written a cri de coeur, urging us to include children as full citizens, as participants in the public square. It’s a deeply provocative work about the place of children in strengthening our sense of community.
- 336 pages
- 5-3/8 x 8-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
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